Israeli Fish Cakes in Tomato Sauce

To say these Middle Eastern fish cakes were a taste sensation would be an understatement. Without exception a 10/10 meal! The flavour, light and aromatic with a lovely soft texture made these superb little morsels absolutely irresistible. Full or earthy notes from the herbs, paired with a sweet, rich and ever so slightly spiced sauce collectively made it one of the tastiest things I’ve eaten in a long time. I’ll be sure to welcome this dish into my culinary repertoire from this day forward.

For the fish cakes:

600g white skinless & boneless fish (firm fish) (cut into very small pieces)
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley (finely chopped)
1/2 cup fresh coriander (finely chopped)
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 chilli (chopped)
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon paprika
200ml white wine
400g tomato passata
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground black pepper

Other ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh mint (chopped)
1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
Lemon wedges

To make the fish cakes:
Combine all the fish cake ingredients in a large bowl with your hands until well mixed – the mix should be relatively wet. Divide into eight balls and arrange on a large plate. Place in fridge to firm slightly.

To make the sauce:
In a large flat pan (with a lid), heat the oil over a moderate/low heat until hot. Add the onion, garlic, chilli, cumin powder, coriander powder, paprika and salt and fry gently for 5-6 minutes until the onions are soft. Turn up the heat then add the wine and sizzle for 30 seconds before adding the tomato passata, sugar and pepper. Stir well, then reduce the heat again to low and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes to reduce the sauce until thick.

Meanwhile, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil over a moderate heat in a medium, non-stick frying pan until hot. Fry the fish cakes in two batches for 3 minutes each side until nicely browned.

Carefully place the cakes into the sauce in one layer and pour in about 300ml hot water. Gently shake the pan to partially cover the fish cakes and then pop on the lid. Reduce the heat to low and simmer lightly for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.

Serve from the pan… I served mine with a side of fluffy herb rice including mint, dill, coriander, parsley and pistachios. Alongside lemon wedges and a fresh tomato salad.

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